Children who live with special needs are renowned for having issues with poor sleep too. This can be tricky at the best of times, but for children who have special needs, and their families, it can be a particularly heavy and unnecessary strain.
If you have, or you know, a child that isn’t acquiring the sleep they need, to be as healthy as they can be, then you will probably have already noted how it can affect their mood and behavior.
To overcome this situation as best as possible, there is a list of helpful and easy-to-follow tips that you can look through below. These are all proven pointers that other children with special needs have found to be successful for them, when it comes to achieving the good night’s sleep they require.
Of course, not all will work, but you can work your way through, and utilize the ones that do.
1. Try massage
You can help your child find ample levels of relaxation to sleep by massaging their hand, foot, head or back. Add some essential oils to rub in alongside the massage oil, to act as a lovely soothing and relaxing experience right before their bedtime. You can try out different oils and also various pressures, depending on your child’s sensory needs.
2. Have a safe space in your bedroom
Although this isn’t always practical, for some children, it can be useful to have a place for them to lie down and sleep, perhaps on a futon, in your bedroom. This is so that if they wake up in the night and are having difficulty sleeping or have anxious thoughts, they can come in and be nearer to you without having to wake you up in the middle of the night.
3. Use sleeping bags
Due to pressure touch and neutral warmth, which have both been proven to have calming effects on children, you may want to try a sleeping bag to create a calmer, more restful sleep. The Sleep Advisory recommends choosing a mummy-style bag, as it offers a close fit around the body as opposed to the regular, looser options.
4. Add scents for soothing
You can pop a lavender sachet inside a pillowcase to help invoke the feeling of relaxation that this scent brings. Studies have shown that lavender also improves sleep. So whenever you’re putting fresh bedding, remember to put lavender inside the pillow, and this should hopefully help your child to settle more peacefully at night.
5. Create comfort in cuddly things
When you put young children to bed at night, it can be beneficial to use cuddly toys as support for them. You can also place pillows, spare cushions and towels around them to give additional support as you position them for bed.
6. Rehearse sleeping positions
While you’ve got the support sorted at bedtime, you can make the night-time routine more seamless by practicing the ideal sleeping position your child will be in during the day. Kids spend a lot of time in bed, so this is quite important to master.
Give different lying positions a go during the day, and see what works best for your little one.
7. Control the napping
Naps have a bad reputation, but there are many benefits, the National Sleep Foundation state. However, you shouldn’t let naps become full periods of sleep in the day, or getting your child to sleep at night will become a problem.
Aim for the 1 PM mark, and allow a twenty-to-thirty-minute nap; this has been proven to help improve mood and alertness, as well as mental and physical performance.
8. Decorate, it can help
We’ve heard of several instances whereby children have benefitted from glow-in-the-dark stars and moons being placed on a child’s ceiling. When the lights go out, the whole room emulates the sky at night!
The pretty scene on the ceiling can help distract your child if they are having a tough time nodding off, and can help ease them into sound slumber.
9. Infuse the bedroom with love
All children are naughty, regardless. Therefore, they will need to be taught that their actions and behavior aren’t acceptable. If they are being sent to a place to cool off, for example, then don’t make the bedroom that place. The bedroom should be strictly associated with feelings of positivity and happy thoughts, to aid sleep and relaxation.
10. Pick effectual bed wear
Similarly to the bedding, children can often find comfort in wearing slightly tighter, more fitting bed clothing. You can even go as far as to let them wear a fitted swimsuit if it works. Sensory clothing (or swimsuits), can give deep-touch pressure that will often help with settling down, and higher-quality sleep.